Odisha News Insight

What’s changed for Congress on Dr. Kalam @ 2012 vs 2015?

APJ Abdul KalamEditor’s Desk: The nation plunged into deep sorrow, grief and mourning at the sudden demise of ‘People’s President’ Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, who breathed his last at the age of 83 while delivering a lecture at IIM, Shillong on 27 July. While everyone condoled his death, some political parties also joined the nation in paying their homage to Dr. Kalam. Congress is one of them and its President Sonia Gandhi and Vice President Rahul Gandhi led the charge. But, what’s new or unusual here?

Well, this is not the right time to discuss political things in the hours of grief. But, it’s also necessary to expose the double standards of people, who do not practice what they preach. Why did Congress take three years to realise the importance and popularity of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam and only after his death? During the 2012 Presidential Polls in India, when his name was recommended for a second term as the President by the BJP and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, who vociferously supported the cause, the Congress decided to veto it for mysterious reasons.

The Congress not only rejected the demand, but also went aggressive to garner opinion for its candidate. Many Congress leaders argued on the record that “there is no dearth of talent in India. Hence, it’s not necessary to bring back Dr. Kalam as the President”. Dr. Kalam, who held the post from 2002 till 2007 and emerged as the ‘Best President’ as well as a ‘Noble Human Being’, was the first choice of the common people in all opinion polls. But, the Congress did not relent. It also “put” pressure on Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav to change his stand and back off on support to Kalam, leaving Mamata Banerjee completely isolated.

While BJP and Akali Dal batted for Dr. Kalam, its ally Shiv Sena did not support it. And, surprisingly, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, who was in the NDA then, did a u-turn and did not throw his weight behind the ‘People’s President’. As the political developments turned ugly, a non-political person like Dr. Kalam withdrew himself from the race, saying he would take up the job only if there was a consensus among the political parties. That did not happen and India missed an opportunity to see him at the helm of affairs again.

Without going into political compulsion on either sides, the political parties, who had opposed Dr. Kalam’s candidature in 2012, owe an apology to the nation, which loved and revered him more than anyone else. That would be a fitting tribute to the departed soul. Will the Congress and others blink?

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